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April 7, 2010

More Restaurants... Blue 13, Piccolo Sogno, & Hugo's

I wanted to take this blog post in the same direction that I did the last two--restaurant review city. As you may have guessed, I have been equally as big of a fatass these past few weeks as I have been, well, always. There are, however, too many restaurant excursions to document all in one post. So I'll take it slow and start with just a few noteworthy meals and leave the rest for later. Here are my restaurant reviews for Blue 13, Piccolo Sogno and Hugo's.

Blue 13:

The evening I spent at Blue 13 was a yummy evening indeed. I started off with the Truffled Mac n Cheese. Can you say "lather me up and bathe me in cheese sauce?" because that's what I did. I mean, it's pasta slathered in cream, cheese and truffle butter... That's a combination you can always bet I'll want to bathe in, but it was damn good. I like that they use orecchiette pasta (meaning little ears in Italian) and broccoli in it. If my parents fed me broccoli draped in that cheese sauce when I was a kid I wouldn't have been such a fussy pain in the ass when it came to eating vegetables. Next, I got the Mixed Green Salad. Compared to everything else, a bunch of leaves on a plate is not memorable. Skip. On to the Pan Seared Lake Whitefish served with "potato risotto." I loved this dish. The white fish was perfectly crispy on the outside and the flesh was just right. I also loved the taste, texture and creativity of the potato risotto, which was pretty much diced potato cooked in risotto fashion--the end result being tender potatoes in a creamy, starchy sauce. This plate was delicious. For dessert I had the Carrot Cake. It was not the best carrot cake I've ever had, but the frosting was good. One spoonful was all I needed after this feast. Next time I go, I am getting the Lobster Pizza, the Braised Rabbit Leg or Steak on Acid, and the Coffee and Doughnuts. AND I am going to be sure to go on a Tuesday for 1/2 off wine night. Before I wrap Blue 13 up, I cannot forget to mention how lovely and hospitable Dan, one of the owners was. Overall a fabulous dining experience and a highly enjoyable evening.

Piccolo Sogno:

First and foremost, what a beautiful restaurant. I loved the decor and the quaint bar--very lovely atmosphere. Now let's talk food. I dined here during Chicago Chef Week, so it was a no-brainer to order off the prix fix menu. For each course on the prix fix menu, there were two options. Luckily for me and my lovely date Shannon, there were two of us. WHAT a coinkidink! We told our server we wanted one of everything to share, and it was a marvelous choice. I'll keep each dish's evaluation to a minimum... This ain't a novel. 1) Ravioli Piccolo Sogno (four-cheese ravioli, pine nuts, marsala glaze, parmesan)--SO good. I cleaned the plate by dipping bread in the extra sauce. 2) Insalata di Pere (arugula, goat cheese, pear)--a good/fine, simple salad. 3) Porchetta Alla Romana (roman style roasted pork)--succulent pork, LARGE portion, quite delicious. 4) Polletto Alla Griglia (wood-grilled chicken)--pretty good but the skin had a too much of a char flavor. 5) Tortino di Gianduia (chocolate hazelnut lava cake with hazelnut gelato)--out of this world. An absolutely amazing dessert. 6) Panna Cotta Allo Zafferon (saffron panna cotta, caramel & berries)--very good as well, but the chocolate cake stole my heart. The must-tries are the ravioli, pork, and chocolate cake. I definitely plan on coming back for more. Especially the chocolate cake... Screw Blue 13's Truffled Mac n Cheese, lather me up in this!

Hugo's Frog Bar:

I go to Hugo's for one reason and one reason only... Alaskan King Crab Legs. They are like heaven on my tongue--my buds' personal culinary sanctuary, if you will. I treat myself to them just once every few months. Any more than that and it's not a treat anymore--I don't want to spoil myself. I love how dear they are to me when they hit my tongue for the first time in too long. It's like a buttery, delicious kiss from Leonardo DiCaprio that you've longed for since the first time you dreamt it when you were 14. Okay, maybe that's just me... Anyway, in my eyes, king crab legs are the ultimate treat. Prior to this gift from God, however, I ordered the Tuna Tartare. My server was adamant that I get the Coriander Seared Tuna instead, which I reluctantly agreed to. I really wanted the tartare. Low and behold, the seared tuna was very good. Once completed, the server said "would you like to try a taste of the tartare to compare?" "Why the hell not?" I replied, possibly leaving out the "hell." More food is always a plus in my book. The next thing I know he brought over an entire order of the tartare, comped. Obviously, it was incredibly generous of him and I must agree, the seared tuna was better. That little "battle of the tuna" was a fun surprise and made the experience even more enjoyable. For dessert, I had the Key Lime Pie, which was pretty much taller than the 5" heels I was wearing. Once I spooned through the mountain of meringue, the filling was perfectly tart and sweet. The best part was definitely the graham cracker crust--so crunchy and there was so much of it! Not surprisingly though because all of their desserts are on steroids. Overall, I left absolutely stuffed and satisfied. I ate not only my culinary sanctuary, king crab, but I had the pleasure of trying both tuna dishes and key lime pie as well.

Moral of the Story? If you lather me up in truffled mac n cheese, then give me a sponge bath in chocolate lava cake, all while feeding me king crab legs, I'll be yours for life.

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